Climate change is now unequivocally recognized as a consequence of human actions and choices; therefore, in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change, it is necessary to engage both governments and citizens in discourse about solutions to climate change. The George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication is a unique initiative that conducts social science research as a way to facilitate public engagement with this important subject. This initiative uses a variety of methods in its work, including: surveys, in-depth interviews, and experiments. The Center’s interactive website also provides free access to information, from reports that the initiative has created to a database with relevant climate change communication articles and blog posts.
An overwhelming volume of research on climate change has been published, yet much of it is not comprehensively communicated or accessible to the public. Furthermore, understanding the public’s perception of climate change is important if climate change is to be mitigated and managed. The Center for Climate Change Communication aims to bridge the communication gap between scientists and the public and understand the public’s view on climate change, through its mission to “conduct unbiased public engagement research – and to help government agencies, non-profit organizations, and companies apply the results of this research – so that collectively, we can stabilize our planet’s life sustaining climate.”
For more information visit the Center’s website. In particular, check the “Reports” and “Database and Journal Article” sections; the latter can be located under the “Other Resources” tab. A newly released report, entitled “Engaging diverse audiences with climate change: Message strategies for global warming’s six Americas,” is particularly interesting. This report evaluates American perspectives on the gravity of climate change and it also discusses communication methods given these different perspectives. This report is recommended to anyone interested in the public’s perception of climate change.
Author: Shelby McLean